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30 June 2023

6 minutes read

Environmental Engineering MS in the USA

Key Takeaways

  • Diverse Specializations: Choose from specializations like renewable energy and waste management
  • Research and Experience: Engage in advanced research and practical fieldwork.
  • Interdisciplinary Approach: Benefit from a curriculum that integrates multiple engineering disciplines.
  • Career Opportunities: Access a wide range of roles in environmental engineering sectors.
  • Global Impact: Contribute to worldwide sustainability and environmental protection efforts.

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In the realm of engineering, environmental engineering stands out as a beacon of hope and innovation, especially pertinent in the current era.

The field is not just about dealing with pollution or waste management; it’s about pioneering sustainable solutions for a better tomorrow.

As we step into 2024, the significance of pursuing a degree in environmental engineering in the USA has never been more pronounced.

This guide dives deep into the MS in Environmental Engineering programs offered by top universities and colleges in the USA, providing insights into what makes these programs vital for aspiring engineers and the planet alike.

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MS in Environmental Engineering in the USA – Program Overview

ms in environmental engineering in usa
  • Program Duration:
    • Typically a 2-year full-time program.
    • Part-time options may extend the duration.
  • Core Curriculum:
    • Fundamental courses in environmental engineering principles.
    • Subjects like water and wastewater treatment, air quality control, waste management, and sustainable engineering.
  • Advanced Specializations:
    • Options to specialize in areas like renewable energy, environmental sustainability, or hazardous waste management.
    • Involves advanced coursework and research in the chosen specialization.
  • Research-Oriented Learning:
    • Emphasis on research projects, often with opportunities to work in cutting-edge university labs.
    • Collaboration with faculty on ongoing environmental engineering research.
  • Practical and Laboratory Work:
    • Hands-on experience through labs, workshops, and fieldwork.
    • Real-world problem-solving in environmental contexts.
  • Interdisciplinary Approach:
  • Thesis or Non-Thesis Options:
    • Programs typically offer a thesis (research-oriented) or a non-thesis (coursework-oriented) track.
    • The thesis track involves a significant research project, while the non-thesis track focuses more on practical experience.
  • Professional Development:
    • Opportunities for internships and cooperative education with industry partners.
    • Focus on developing skills for the job market, such as project management and technical communication.
  • Global and Ethical Perspective:
    • Coursework often includes global environmental issues and sustainable practices.
    • Ethical considerations in environmental engineering decisions.
  • Accreditation:

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Top Universities for MS in Environmental Engineering in the USA

University NameLocationNational RankingTuition Fees (approx.)Program HighlightsUnique Offerings
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)Cambridge, MA#1$53,790 per yearInterdisciplinary approach, state-of-the-art research facilitiesPartnerships with leading environmental agencies
Stanford UniversityStanford, CA#2$53,529 per yearFocus on sustainable design and innovationOpportunities for entrepreneurship in environmental solutions
University of California, BerkeleyBerkeley, CA#3$43,176 per year (in-state), $55,160 per year (out-of-state)Strong emphasis on water and wastewater engineeringExtensive alumni network and industry connections
California Institute of Technology (Caltech)Pasadena, CA#4$54,600 per yearAdvanced research in environmental chemistry and pollution controlSmall class sizes for personalized learning
University of MichiganAnn Arbor, MI#5$26,336 per year (in-state), $51,126 per year (out-of-state)Comprehensive curriculum covering all aspects of environmental engineeringStrong focus on sustainable engineering practices
top universities for masters in environmental engineering in usa

Eligibility and Admission Requirements for MS in Environmental Engineering

  • Undergraduate Degree:
    • Bachelor’s degree in engineering, environmental science, or a closely related field.
    • Accredited by a recognized institution.
  • Minimum GPA:
  • GRE Scores:
  • English Language Proficiency (for non-native speakers):
    • TOEFL or IELTS scores to demonstrate proficiency in English.
    • Minimum score requirements: TOEFL (80-100), IELTS (6.5-7.5), varying by university.
  • Letters of Recommendation:
    • Typically 2-3 letters, preferably from academic advisors, professors, or professional supervisors.
    • Should attest to the applicant’s academic and research abilities.
  • Statement of Purpose (SOP):
    • A comprehensive essay outlining the applicant’s academic interests, career goals, and reasons for choosing the program.
    • Should reflect a clear understanding of the environmental engineering field.
  • Resume/CV:
    • Detailed resume or CV showcasing academic background, research experiences, publications (if any), and relevant work experience.
  • Research Experience (Preferred, not mandatory):
    • Prior research experience in a related field can strengthen the application.
    • Involvement in projects, publications, or academic research work.
  • Prerequisite Courses:
    • Some programs may require the completion of prerequisite courses, especially for applicants from non-engineering backgrounds.
    • Courses in mathematics, physics, or basic engineering principles.
  • Interview (if required):
    • Some programs conduct interviews as part of the admissions process, either in person or virtually.
  • Financial Documentation (for international students):
    • Proof of financial support to cover tuition and living expenses during the study period.

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Career Opportunities with an MS in Environmental Engineering

top 50 universities in usa for ms in environmental engineering
Job TitleResponsibilitiesAverage Salary Range (Annually)
Environmental ConsultantAdvising on environmental regulations, conducting impact assessments, and developing sustainability strategies.$55,000 – $85,000
Water Project ManagerOverseeing water-related projects, including water quality management and wastewater treatment systems.$70,000 – $100,000
Air Quality EngineerMonitoring and controlling air pollution, developing air quality management plans.$60,000 – $90,000
Environmental Health and Safety ManagerEnsuring workplace environmental compliance, and managing health and safety protocols.$65,000 – $95,000
Waste Management EngineerDesigning and managing waste disposal systems, and developing recycling and waste reduction strategies.$60,000 – $85,000
Sustainable Design EngineerCreating environmentally sustainable designs in construction or product development.$68,000 – $100,000
Environmental Policy AnalystResearching and developing policies for environmental protection and conservation.$55,000 – $80,000
Renewable Energy EngineerDesigning and implementing renewable energy systems like solar, wind, or hydroelectric power.$70,000 – $110,000
Environmental Research ScientistResearching environmental issues, such as climate change, biodiversity, or water resources.$63,000 – $90,000
Hazardous Waste EngineerManaging hazardous waste materials, and developing containment and disposal methods.$62,000 – $88,000

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

– Peter Drucker.

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Understanding the Financial Aspect of MS in Environmental Engineering

AspectDescriptionEstimated Range or Factor
Tuition FeesThe cost of the program itself varies significantly by institution and residency status.$20,000 – $50,000 per year
Living ExpensesIncludes accommodation, food, transportation, and other personal expenses.$10,000 – $20,000 per year
Scholarships and GrantsFinancial aid opportunities are offered by universities or external organizations.Varies (full to partial coverage)
Research AssistantshipsPaid positions offered by universities to assist with faculty research, often including tuition waivers.Stipend + Tuition Waiver
Teaching AssistantshipsPositions involving undergraduate teaching or assistance, usually providing a stipend and tuition reduction.Stipend + Tuition Reduction
External Funding OpportunitiesFunding from sources outside the university, like governmental or private scholarships.Varies (full to partial coverage)
On-Campus EmploymentPart-time work opportunities within the university, such as in libraries or administrative offices.Hourly Wage Varies

Did You Know ?

Graduates of MS in Environmental Engineering programs in the USA often find employment in sectors with some of the highest job satisfaction rates, reflecting the rewarding nature of contributing to environmental solutions.

Scholarship Opportunities for MS in Environmental Engineering

Scholarship NameProvided ByDetailsEligibility Criteria
Engineering Excellence ScholarshipIndividual UniversitiesMerit-based scholarship for outstanding academic achievement.High GPA, strong academic record in engineering or related fields.
Graduate Research FellowshipIndividual UniversitiesFunding for students engaged in environmental engineering research.Enrollment in MS program, research proposal.
EPA STAR FellowshipEnvironmental Protection Agency (EPA)Supports research in environmental studies and engineering.U.S. citizen or permanent resident, relevant research focus.
American Water Works Association ScholarshipsAmerican Water Works Association (AWWA)Aimed at students focusing on water supply and treatment.Membership in AWWA, commitment to the water sector.
Fulbright ProgramU.S. GovernmentOffers international students opportunities to study in the USA.Non-U.S. citizen, with strong academic and leadership potential.
Rotary Foundation Global ScholarshipRotary FoundationFunding for graduate studies, including environmental engineering.Excellent leadership skills, and commitment to community service.
National Science Foundation (NSF) Research FellowshipNational Science Foundation (NSF)Financial support for research-based graduate studies.U.S. citizen or permanent resident, research focus in STEM fields.
Society of Women Engineers ScholarshipSociety of Women EngineersEncourages female students in engineering disciplines.Female student, enrolled in engineering program.
NACME ScholarshipsNational Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME)Supports underrepresented minority students in engineering.Minority student, enrolled in engineering program.
Environmental Consulting Firm ScholarshipVarious Environmental Consulting FirmsSponsored by firms for students interested in environmental consulting.Interest in environmental consulting, and academic achievement.


Exploring the MS in Environmental Engineering in the USA for 2024 reveals a path not just to education but to impactful change. These programs prepare students to be innovators in tackling global environmental challenges.

With opportunities in research, interdisciplinary learning, and practical experiences, graduates are poised to become key contributors to environmental sustainability.

As the world increasingly seeks skilled environmental engineers, these programs stand as crucial stepping stones for those committed to making a real difference.

Embark on a journey that merges innovation with impact. Join the ranks of those shaping a sustainable future by exploring your potential with an MS in Environmental Engineering.

Leverage Ambitio’s expertise to make informed decisions by crafting a shortlist that reflects your goals and values. Ambitio Shortlist Builder provides you with the insights and data needed to make choices that are not just good, but great for your future.


What are the career prospects after completing an MS in Environmental Engineering in the USA?

After obtaining an MS in Environmental Engineering, graduates can pursue careers in areas like sustainable design, waste management, water treatment, environmental consultancy, and government agencies. The degree opens doors to advanced roles in both the public and private sectors.

Are there scholarships available for international students in these programs?

Yes, many universities in the USA offer scholarships and financial aid to international students. These can be merit-based, need-based, or specific to certain countries or regions.

Do I need a background in engineering to pursue an MS in Environmental Engineering?

While a background in engineering is beneficial, many programs also accept students from related fields such as environmental science, chemistry, or geology, provided they meet other admission criteria.

How important is hands-on experience in these programs?

Hands-on experience is crucial in environmental engineering programs. It includes internships, cooperative education programs, and participation in research projects, which are integral to understanding and solving real-world environmental problems.

Can I pursue a Ph.D. after completing my MS in Environmental Engineering?

Absolutely. An MS in Environmental Engineering provides a solid foundation for those interested in further academic research and pursuing a Ph.D. in environmental engineering or related fields.

What is the average duration of MS in Environmental Engineering programs in the USA?

The average duration of these programs is typically two years, but it can vary depending on the university and whether the student is enrolled full-time or part-time.

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